Erotic Morality examines the role of the senses and emotions, especially touch, in moral reflection and agency. Linda Holler proposes that ethics consider touch as the center of moral life rather than disciplines designed to control the body and feeling. The book first explores the world of autism, where all touch is painful. Holler considers strategies employed by autistic individuals who attempt to outwit their own defenses against physical and emotional engagement with others. Such strategies become a foundation upon which to consider how our own sensory systems are like those of the autistic and other persons with brain disorders under conditions of stress, trauma, and abuse. Moving from organic to culturally induced feeling disorders found in dualistic philosophy, pornography, and some forms of sadomasochism, Erotic Morality argues that reclaiming the sentient awareness necessary to our physical and moral well being demands healing the places where we have become numb or hypersensitive to touch. Relying upon certain Christian ascetic and Buddhist mindfulness practices, the author presents alternatives to actions dictated by habitual and external conditioning that leave us desensitized and demoralized. The book concludes by suggesting that we have the power to touch the world mindfully in ways that imbue it with the subjective presence necessary for moral responsibility.
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